Thursday 22 March 2018

Outcry as Soham killer sues after throat slashed in jail

Tom Wilkinson

A LEADING victims' campaigner has said Ian Huntley should drop his claim for compensation after the Soham murderer was badly injured by another inmate.

The killer of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman had his throat slashed in March and has now claimed that the British prison service failed in its duty of care towards him.

It has been reported that he could win almost £100,000 (€120,000) in damages, although the Ministry of Justice in London has said his claim will be "vigorously defended".

Norman Brennan, the founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: "If Huntley had the slightest remorse for the terrible murder of these two girls, he would drop the case immediately and get on with serving his sentence -- and just be thankful it's not pre-1967, when he may well have been sentenced to the hangman's noose."

Mr Brennan, 51, and now retired from the police, said inmates convicted of such heinous crimes should forfeit their right to sue.

"Yet again, the parents of Holly and Jessica are reminded of their tragic loss as a result of an offender attempting to seek compensation."

He said if Huntley won his claim, the families should sue him for every penny.

"The compensation culture in Britain has turned our criminal justice system on its head.

"What message is sent out when the two families in this matter received a maximum £11,000 and yet Huntley, for injuries received while serving a sentence, could get many times that?

"Huntley is the one responsible for being in prison. He should shut up."

The former school caretaker, who murdered the 10-year-old friends in Cambridgeshire in 2002 and is serving a life sentence, was left scarred by the attack at Frankland Prison in County Durham.

He is alleged to have been cut with a razor blade and needed hospital treatment.

The week before Huntley was stabbed, three prison officers at the jail were stabbed and seriously injured by an inmate with a piece of glass. He faces charges of attempted murder.

But Mr Moses feared the case could be settled out of court to avoid publicity about how Huntley was guarded.

"Why shouldn't the public know how he has been kept?" he asked.

"Why not know if he has a flat-screen television or a PlayStation?

"I am sure the families of the two children he murdered would like to know."

Earlier this year, the then justice secretary, Labour's Jack Straw, said the UK government had "absolutely no intention" of paying compensation to Huntley.

The attack on 36-year-old Huntley happened on March 21. It was not the first time he had been attacked in prison.

An inmate threw boiling water on him while he was in the high-security Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, in September 2005. Huntley also tried to commit suicide in prison on three occasions.

He was moved to Frankland Prison, in 2008. That year, the inspectorate of prisons raised concerns about violence at the jail.

Sunday Independent

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